A diverse group of visual artists made their debut at the Living Arts Centre’s gallery last night, celebrating the opening of a new exhibition called PUSH.

PUSH showcases the work of nine talented artists who work in the mediums of clay and glass. The exhibition opened on November 23, but all of the artists involved in the exhibition were on hand at last night’s reception to see their work presented in the gallery and to celebrate the hard work that went into the exhibition.

The show is presented by FUSION: The Ontario Clay and Glass Association and displays work created in their Glass Mentorship Program under the direction of glass artist Koen Vanderstukken. Artists participating in the exhibition include Camilla Clarizio, Jerre Davidson, Valerie Anne Dennis, Marlene Kawalez, Debbie Ebanks Schlums in collaboration with Don Miller, Cheryl Wilson Smith, Laurie Spieker, George Whitney and Bridget Wilson. The artists involved with PUSH worked separately in their own studio spaces and would meet at Oakville’s Sheridan College campus about once every five weeks to discuss their own work and the place that glass and clay have in the art world, among other topics.

Vanderstukken would push the artists involved in the mentorship program and give them assignments intended to expand their boundaries. “We chose the name PUSH as it felt appropriate for what we have gone through this year. We were pushed by Koen, by ourselves and by each other to try new things, to work harder and to get out of our comfort zone,” said artist Valerie Ann Dennis, speaking at the opening reception.

FUSION aims to celebrate handmade clay and glass artwork. It grew from the Ontario Potters’ Association, formed in 1975, and has been known as FUSION: The Ontario Clay and Glass Association since 1985.

PUSH is on display at the Living Arts Centre gallery until January 19 and is free to visit. Check livingartscentre.ca for more information and hours of operation.